"Rajputs were defeat specialists": Open Letter Rebuttal to Scroll's Identity Politics

"Rajputs were defeat specialists": Open Letter Rebuttal to Scroll's Identity Politics

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Sainik Singh started this petition to All India media Association and

On 20th May 2015, Girish Shahane, an Art critic by profession and English Lit. graduate by education, published “What our textbooks don’t tell us: Why the Rajputs failed miserably in battle for centuries” on Scroll.in which was copied by other online portals and gradually it has been normalized in the bazaar gossip of social-media.


The Scroll staff also routinely recirculates it to peddle this public narrative: “Rajputs were specialists in failure, who were defeated by all, were militarily incapable, drugged in opium, ossified and then they employed “bards” to explain away their failures”.


One must admit that publication and routine circulation of such an article filled with too many sweeping remarks and yet no references that could be easily established as narrative- peddling, stands testimony to the sociopolitical influence of the author and support from the publisher.
However, we contest that such narratives have been historically peddled by the new dominant ruling castes to keep the larger Rajput population isolated from the civil society and intellectual discourse, even the ones directly impacting them. Such narratives, false as they are, also keep the community, most of which are rural and lower-middle-class, hostage to the past rather than focus on their “collective present”.


The objective, we understand, wasn’t to hit the royal Rajputs’ past but the rural and middle-class Rajput’s present. Marginalized by traditional savarn literary-castes socially & the neo-kshatriyas politically, sepoy recruitments and sports remain only two major avenues of socio-economic mobility for rural Rajputs across Northern states. Hence a middle-class intervention is much needed on their behalf.
We promise this, won’t be a defense of the Rajput soldiers of yore, whose stories are as diverse as the terrains to which they belonged, but a deconstruction of Mr. Shahane’s article and an exposure of his identity politics.

The Entire Open Letter can be Read and Downloaded from here:

https://www.scribd.com/document/451448433/Rebuttal-Rajputs-Were-Defeat-Specialists

CONCLUSION: It is noteworthy that an online portal which frequently publishes panegyric about medieval Emperors, peddled multiple communal narratives against a particular living community without cross-verification to socially stigmatize and isolate the said community from the mainstream. Lastly, we also suggest the Scroll.in to at least verify contents before running a hate campaign against any community in the future.

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